Drop the stopwatch
While you may not need the to-the-nanosecond accuracy of the clocks used at the Olympics, your firm does need to be able to keep track of staff hours spent on various engagements. In the office, it's relatively easy to set up a timer on your desktop PC - but what about when you're in the field, and your desktop is back on top of your desk? Project Clock CE, a time-tracking application for Windows CE-based handheld PDAs, is designed to fill this gap, allowing users to calculate time by project, task and client. Now you can figure out exactly how many hours your staff spends in airport bars and hotel restaurants. A trial version is available for download.
Price: New users - $20; existing customers - $10.
CyberMatrix Corp. Inc.
As you may have discovered during tax season, researching and calculating the true cost basis of a security for tax returns can be an arduous, time-intensive nightmare. ATX's Portfolio Tax Analyzer is a browser-based solution to this nightmare that delivers complicated securities payment and tax basis research in seconds, eliminating hours (sometimes days!) of drudge work. With a vast store of data from Standard & Poor's and a built-in calculator, Portfolio Tax Analyzer promises more accurate returns without all the research time.
Price: Services cost from one to 10 credits. Credit subscriptions - 110, $100; 240, $200; 400, $300. For more, contact vendor.
Tools for nomads
Nomadic groups like, say, a Mongol horde, or an audit team out on an engagement, need to work as a team as they patrol the steppe or go through a client's financials. Auditors, at least, can use the Colligo WorkGroup, an "instant networking" solution that uses WiFi hardware to let users create ad hoc networks between Windows-based laptops, tablet PCs and handheld computers, so that team members can share files, utilize shared resources like printers and Internet connections, and communicate electronically through instant messaging and whiteboarding.
The new release, Edition 4.0, adds a number of new features, including Windows-style folder and printer sharing; "one-touch" instant WiFi networking that makes network set-up easier and more robust; archiving capabilities; enhanced security and encryption; and an improved user interface.
Price: $99.99. Volume prices available.
All the really good Web addresses - like cpa.com, or accounting.com - were snapped up long ago. Unless your firm has a pretty unique name, you may find that the intuitive URL for it has been taken by a company with a similar name (or worse, a cybersquatter or a porn site).
That was one of the reasons behind the decision from ICANN - the international Internet governing body - to allow the creation of the .pro domain for licensed professionals, but it hasn't really caught on, possibly because the process of proving your credentials was so complicated.
EnCirca, an ICANN-accredited registrar, has introduced a new service to cut the cost and complexity of registering or reserving a .pro domain name. By reducing these obstacles, EnCirca can help licensed professionals like CPAs create more memorable, more marketable Web presences.
Price: Second-level .pro domains - $99 per year.
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